The design for these Scottish highlanders, who were from the 42nd Foot Regiment which later amalgamated with the 73rd and became known as the Black Watch, derive from a set of prints engraved by George Bickham and published in 1743 by John Bowles of Cornhill. It is widely believed that they represent Rifleman Shaw and Piper Macdonnel, two Jacobite martyrs. The engraving of the piper also featured as the frontispiece for A Short History of the Highland Regiment of 1743. C. Le Corbeiller illustrates the Bickham engravings of both highlanders, China Trade Porcelain: Patterns of Exchange, New York, 1974, figs. 51 and 52, p.94 where she discusses interest in Highlanders in the 1740's and the Jacobite cause, and comments that these two highlanders have also been attributed to Alexander Munro, piper to Prince Charles Edward Stuart (aka the Young Pretender or Bonnie Prince Charlie), and Private Hamilton, who was executed on Tower Hill at the time of the Rebellion of 1745. See ibid., no.38, p.95 for one of a pair of 'Scotsmen' plates in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
See D. S. Howard, Chinese Porcelain for the Jacobites, Country Life, 25 January 1973 for a discussion of the subject and where he comments that five bowls with this design are documented and that they no doubt formed part of a single cargo. One such bowl, with the portrait of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in the interior, was sold on the premises of Fingask Castle by Christie's, 26-28 April 1993, lot 1276, and again in these Rooms, 6 April 1998, lot 151. Another was sold in these rooms 16 November 1981, lot 149 and is illustrated by Hervouët and Bruneau, La Porcelaine des Compagnies des Indes à Décor Occidental, Paris, 1986, p. 223, fig. 9.87.
Plates with the piper and rifleman are in the Victoria and Albert Museum, formerly in the Ionides Collection; in the Musée Guimet, illustrated by M. Beurdeley, Porcelain of the East India Companies, London, 1962, colour plate XIX, p.99; in the Zeeuws Museum, Middleburg, illustrated by D. F. Lunsingh Scheurleer, Chinese Export Porcelain, London, 1974, fig.205, p.221; and in the Elvehjem Museum, Winconsin, from the Liebman Collection, illustrated by C. C. Brawer, Chinese Export Porcelain, Winconsin, 1992, colour plate IV, p.13, catalogue no.77.